Monday, 10 May 2010

Once upon a time...

I'm the type of person who has to read the first page of a new book immediately after I have finished the last page of the one I was reading. If I am nearing the end of a book I will take two to work with me despite them both being doorstop sized hardbacks just so I don't have two stops on the metro without a book to read. It seemed logical therefore for me to join a book club.

So how does one join a book club? Well I asked at the library and was told there was a waiting list almost as long as one of the aforementioned doorstop sized hardbacks. Hmmm. I was stumped as to where else to try until, by chance, I fell upon a small poster in my local Borders advertising their book club. Excellent. Well it was, for a short time until one month only me and one other person (the organiser and member of staff) turned up. The month before that the only other person who turned up was a man who claimed that the Iraq war was all manufactured by the CIA to keep them in jobs, that it was pointless to read more than one book by the same author and that women were best suited to desk jobs. We were only reviewing The Alchemist! So it wasn't exactly going swimmingly. Things positively sunk however when the announcement was made that Borders had gone into administration. That will be the end of the book club then.

I know I will start my own book club! So how does one go about that then? I will make a poster and put it up everywhere! So off I toddled full of enthusiasm, posters perforated at the end so people could rip my mobile number off to take home with them. First stop ASDA, my biggest local supermarket. "Sorry we don't have a notice board" Neither do Summerfield apparently. 3 Spar shops later and I was well rehearsed on the line "Sorry we don't accept advertisements" despite them marketing themselves as your local store. God help anyone who has a missing cat.

I was slightly despondent but I managed to get one poster onto the very bottom of Sainsburys notice board. Frequent trips to Sainsburys ensued with surreptitious maneuverings of the poster in to prime position. Now all I had to do was wait for people to ring. Which they surely would do, wouldn't they? I plagued people at work who lived locally, I gave friends my sob storey and got two people interested but my aim was a stranger. Someone who genuinely wanted to come to a book club without being there under duress.

Days passed until suddenly one of the little perforated strips containing my number was removed. SOMEONE WAS GOING TO RING ME!!!!!!!!! I checked my phone every two seconds certain that this person would be so excited about the prospect of joining my book club that they would have to ring me instantly. More days passed. The phone did not ring. I was gutted. Then it rang! It was a lovely person named Caroline, a stranger, and suddenly I was arranging dates and places.

Another sign went up in Sainsburys (again later repositioned surreptitiously) confirming time and date. Another person rang, an American lady named Johny and I was as high as a kite. 4 people would surely be enough to start wouldn't it?

Ok so people sorted (hopefully). Now all I had to do was actually plan the first meeting. What if nobody talked? I was no expert on book club procedure so frantically began making lists of things to talk about, books I have read, books I tend to buy. The bit I was most worried about was suggestions for a first book. This would set the tone for the whole club, if it was no good then my hard earned people wouldn't turn up again. Lets face it a book club that doesn't get past the first book isn't really much cop. Should I suggest a classic and go for the high brow appeal or risk showing my true colours and suggest a Richard and Judy special? In the end I decided that I would just see what people liked to read and go from there with a couple of generic ones on my list as a starting point.

I was armed and ready. Now all I needed was for people to turn up!!!!!!!!